Trump Being Trump: General Election Style (Week 14)

The week started off badly for Donald Trump, demonstrating numerous strategic problems that could well cost him the election. On the other hand, he managed to get a series of smaller tactical victories toward the end, as well as prepared a new operational offensive. Some cracks also began to show for Hillary Clinton strategically, but it’s as yet too soon to know whether they’ll break the recent offensive she and her team have taken.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton seizure

“Unity” Frayed

The week began, unsurprisingly, with continued fallout from the Khan family controversy, as top Republicans continued to distance themselves from Donald Trump over his comments. This caused Donald Trump to reveal in starker terms what is a very large weakness of his, his need to seemingly answer any criticism.

Last year I remarked that Donald Trump follows Robert Greene’s 36th law of power (Disdain Things You Cannot Have, Ignoring them is the Best Revenge), but while he holds contempt for a lot of things, he often has trouble letting things go and therefore turns smaller wounds into bigger ones, in fact, disobeying the law. The Khan family controversy was one of those instances. He let it get to the point that he set off an internecine GOP feud, refusing to endorse Paul Ryan, John McCain, or Kelly Ayotte, who all criticized him harshly. By the end of the week, he relented, and while this contrast between how Donald Trump behaves toward you when you’re nice to him versus how he does when you “aren’t nice” is a persuasion technique (as per Scott Adams), I don’t think it helped anyone here. Instead it sapped valuable time and energy he could have been using to counter Hillary Clinton’s new offensive.

Result (for Trump): Defeat

Intervention?

Will that be the newest episode in Donald Trump’s reality show career? I’m sure you remember that Intervention show from years ago? Well, there was talk about people close to Donald Trump staging an “intervention” on him to get him back on track in his campaign.

Donald Trump is scary enough to a lot of people without any such word being associated with him, and when we hear the word “intervention,” we usually think of druggies and crazy people, which is exactly the opposite impression that Trump needs to convey.

Result (for Trump): Defeat

Flying in the Cash

Last week, we heard that those four hostages that Iran kept were finally released…but at the same time, Iran received $400 million in cash flown in from the U.S. The only thing this could have appeared to be was a ransom, despite vehement denials from the Obama administration.

Since Donald Trump has dominated the space on the Iranian issue with his talk of botched negotiations, this plays right into his hands. What does this look like? A bad deal. Who’s the one you want to make a better deal with Iran? (or anybody else)? Donald Trump, the man who runs as the master negotiator.

Result (for Trump): Victory

Jobs Jobs Jobs

This week, July’s Jobs Report came in, boasting some good-sounding numbers. 255,000 new jobs were created last month. Again, the details don’t matter. The number sounds good, and a good-sounding jobs report historically helps the party in the White House. That’s not Trump’s party.

Result (for Trump): Defeat

Blue Georgia?

This week, a poll was released showing that Hillary Clinton is leading in the state of Georgia, which hasn’t voted for a Democrat since 1992, when ironically enough, her husband won it.

I don’t expect this lead to last, as it probably was related to Hillary Clinton’s post-convention bump, but it is a warning sign that Donald Trump has a lot of ground to cover and that he has to change his strategy. If he’s having trouble in Georgia, it doesn’t bode well for him in other states that he needs.

Result (for Trump): Defeat

Hillary Short-Circuits?

As the week rolled on, Hillary Clinton remarked in a “press conference” (in which only pre-selected questions were allowed) that she “short-circuited” over her email scandal. She also began to call Donald Trump her husband.

Aside from the pre-screened questions being bad for her personal brand, as they reinforce her dishonesty (she ironically enough told those journalists to hold her accountable), “short-circuited” is about the worst language she could possibly use in association with her email scandal, which she also reinforced. Aside from contradicting Jim Comey (and therefore lying) in the “press conference,” she basically described herself as not being able to function, which is just as bad, if not worse, than deceitfulness. Note also the big grin and head nod at the end. Those are attempts to distract the viewer from her deceitful, or perhaps in this case, “short-circuiting” behavior (more on that below). In addition, calling Trump her husband at first only reinforced the frame that she “short-circuited” and wasn’t all there, and Donald Trump was quick to take advantage of the phrae with ads.

In effect, Hillary Clinton created a linguistic kill shot against herself. And if you’re wondering why, it’s because she’s…

  1. Incompetent.
  2. May well be projecting (once more, see below).

Result (for Trump): Victory

Brexit Rocks America

In a sign that The Donald is making the necessary operational adjustments for November, his campaign has now hired the “psychographic” data firm that helped turn out voters in droves to vote for Britain to leave the European Union in June. One of the key things in the Brexit referendum was that turnout among Leave voters (and in their associated strongholds) was higher than turnout among Remain voters (and in their own fortresses such as Scotland). Obviously, the Trump campaign hopes this firm can do the same for them.

This was a key step for Donald Trump’s operations game, as it was clear that big rallies and free media likely wouldn’t be able to do the job by themselves. We’ll have to see what effect this has, though it won’t ever be negative.

Result (for Trump): Victory

The FBI Strikes Again

The FBI seems to have an insatiable need to destroy Hillary Clinton, as it raided the home and office of a powerful union boss in Pennsylvania with deep ties to the Democratic establishment. Whether this blows up into anything bigger remains to be seen, but Pennsylvania is a crucial state, so we should watch for it. The optics of it by themselves are bad for Hillary Clinton.

Result (for Trump): Victory

Hillary’s Health

The big looming monster on the horizon, the thing that could lead to a new strategic breakthrough, is the questions over Hillary Clinton’s health. Recall that Huma Abedin, in a leaked email, said that Hillary is “often confused.” In magnificent reporting by Mike Cernovich (who I met with on Saturday and discussed possible angles for this story with in real life), questions over the health of Hillary Clinton were trending worldwide over the past weekend.

First, Hillary seems to travel with a doctor and hypnotist. This handler seems to make sure she suffers no collapses.

“Keep talking. Keep talking.”

“OK, we’ll keep talking!”

There were other signs of deception that those capable of reading body language will pick up on, and her handler certainly spotted it:

  1. She froze up. The natural human tendency in the face of fear is first to freeze, then to run, then to fight.
  2. She pursed her lips. That is a sign of low confidence.
  3. She smiled and cackled. These are distracting behaviors meant to try to convey that everything is OK. Bluffers often engage in the same kind of behaviors in poker, as they often banter and talk more than usual to distract attention from their shit hands (I used to do this myself).

Also note that Hillary’s handler had to help her climb a small flight of stairs (via Danger and Play):

Hillary's Handler

The handler of Hillary Clinton also seems to carry a syringe that looks like a pen around so as to inject her at any time (via Ralph Retort):

Hillary's handler injectable pen

Hillary Clinton has a long history of falls. Recall that she had to go to the hospital in 2012 because of a fall.

There are also numerous suggestions that Hillary Clinton has a drinking problem, and that she drinks on the job.

And as Scott Adams remarked, all of these substances affect the mind.

Of course, all of this was designed to feed into The Donald’s “no stamina” linguistic kill shot, but if this blows up further, look for him to design something more specific, something easier for the mind to unconsciously connect the dots with.

The question that the new linguistic kill shot should meant to convey is – “do you really want this person, with a history of bad health and possible mental instability, taking who knows what mind-altering drugs, with her finger on the nuclear codes?”

In that case, look for Donald Trump to attempt to make Hillary Clinton look like she’s breaking down during the debates. If one such instance occurs, all the policy talk in the world won’t win the debate for Hillary.

Result (for Trump): Inconclusive (for now)

Hillary Clinton still holds the higher hand at the moment, but this week witnessed the gestation of possible new offensives for Donald Trump to get out of the box he’s now in. We’ll just have to wait and see.

If you don’t want to find yourself boxed in by powerful people in bad health like Hillary Clinton, you should read Stumped.